Don’t forget

Over the last couple of weeks my husband and I have been watching Band of Brothers. It is a second world war series that my my brother-in-law lent it to us, saying he thought we would enjoy it; I was sceptical. War movies are not generally my favourite, and this one looked like it might even be black and white (the horror – I cannot watch such desaturated entertainment!). However I agreed to give it a try, and to my and my husband’s surprise I was hooked.  Wow.  What a powerful movie.

In my school years I detested history, and when I started home-education I was allowed to drop the subject, much to my relief. I appreciate my parents’ respect for my personal interests, and now I am older I find I am increasingly self-motivated to learn all I can. Watching Band of Brothers coincided with an Open University course I am doing, the current topic of which is war poetry, so the timing was particularly good for me. I soaked up the history of the war, as told through the eyes of the courageous men who fought in it.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Band of Brothers follows the story of the US paratrooper unit ‘Easy Company’, from their drop behind enemy lines on D-Day to their capture of  the ‘Eagles Nest’ and the end of the war. Directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this is predictably an excellent series. I would warn those who watch it that the language is very excessive, and there is, unfortunately, one sex scene that we skipped. Being a war film it also has some pretty shocking violence, although this is not as bad as it could have been. Despite these aspects though, I thoroughly recommend the movie. It is a deeply moving true story of men who willingly volunteered their lives – even to the point of death – and gave everything they had to do what they believed was right. That is worth watching.

The last disc of the series has a commentary and other extras which are also very interesting to watch, including comments from several Easy Company veterans. Again, this section is moving as you see the men cry for their friends and recall horrors of battle that I cannot imagine having had to live through. But there was one line that stood out to me more than any other. At the end of ‘The Making Of’ section one of the actors who plays an Easy Company soldier makes this comment:

These guys lived hell for years, for the betterment of the world. Doing a movie like this is hopefully a small shred… a sliver… of a thank you. And a little piece of information that we can pass along to other people, and go, “Don’t forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and these guys did it so that you don’t have to.”

When I heard this, I was stuck to the core. Certainly after watching this movie I won’t forget what they did, and I do hold them in high esteem. I think there is not a person in the world who could watch and understand what Easy Company did and not regard them as heroes. And yet, they can’t hold a candle to Christ. What they did – mind-blowing as it was – is nothing compared to what Jesus has done.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly did go through hell – for the betterment of the world.  He did it not just for His friends but also His enemies. He took upon himself the sins of the entire world, even though the world scorned Him. He died in the ultimate battle for the salvation of our souls. And glory to God, He rose again and conquered!

Let us share this good news with the people in our lives, and tell them of the greatest hero who ever lived – and lives still today!

And let us not forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and Jesus did it so that you don’t have to.

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Pressing on

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV)

Paul had his priorities right. He valued Christ above all else.  In chapter 1 he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (v21)  Here in chapter 3 he says that if anyone has a right to boast in the flesh, it is him – and yet he considers his worldly advantages to be as “garbage” compared to belonging to Jesus.  This is Paul’s goal: to attain to the resurrection from the dead, which Christ Jesus has offered him.

“There is nothing I want more than for my children to love God and give Him first place in their lives.”

I, too, have this goal.  But as a mom, it is not just for me, but for my children also. There is nothing I want more than for my children to love God and give Him first place in their lives. Yet daily I mess up. I fail to live up to the opportunities given to me; I make selfish choices; I prioritise worldly values; I model sinful attitudes. I am sure you fail too. And God knows this. He knows we are helpless – so he gave us a gift: infinite grace.

Because of grace, reaching our goal does not depend on us achieving perfection here on earth. We will not be saved on the merit of our motherhood, our ministry, or our self-imposed laws. We cannot save our children, either, no matter how many hours a day we spend teaching them of His love (don’t mistake me here – we should teach them this, it’s just that we cannot save them). We, and our children, can only gain the prize of salvation by accepting it. Christ Jesus came to offer us freedom and eternal salvation because of His perfect life. When we begin to understand this concept, we are blown away.

None of us have reached this goal yet, but there is hope. I want to encourage us all, to forget what is behind, and press on to what is ahead. Start each day – even each hour, each minute – anew.  Accept the grace of God, and look forward. Don’t dwell on the mistakes and failures of the past. Persevere in your faith; pray for your children. There is hope in the future.

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